DiaNa - communication training started 2001 as a collaboration within the fields of biology, chemistry and geology. Due to many courses being taken by students of the different fields, e.g. chemistry taken by biologists, cooperation within DiaNa came naturally.
Communication skills in demand
All scientists need to communicate. To share knowledge with the public, to discuss with researchers of the same and other fields and more. Science programmes are often filled with written assignments, oral presentations and group work but these exercises are rarely put into a larger context and without feedback. Employers, alumni and students alike have asked for the students to learn more communication skills; Written and oral as well as group interactions.
- "This is clearly a good initiative, it addresses the big demand of these skills that exists in the industry while still retaining the depth of the programme. We at AstraZeneca look forward to meeting these students in the future!"
Hans Lundgren, in charge of higher studies at Astra Zeneca when DiaNa was first initiated.
In 2004, the department of Quality and Evaluation commissioned a survey aimed at biologists graduating 2001-2002. From the survey the need for more communications training was evident.
Inspiration came from both near and far
Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a womens college that got a lot of attention in the USA, being rewarded several times for their bachelor programmes. At Alverno College they focus on eight different skills that the students need to be able to master to use their knowledge of their chosen field in various situations. In every course, regardless of subject, theses skills are systematically trained. When head of departments from the study programmes in biology and chemistry visited Alverno the spark for DiaNa was born.
Together with local expert in communications, Britt Backlund, the model for DiaNa was created. With her background as an author of several books in communication and long time teacher at the Department of Scandinavian Languages she worked with the two programmes in creating DiaNa.
The first steps of DiaNa were at a teachers conference where many teachers participated in developing the first feedback forms. Both teachers and students have throughout DiaNa been a part of helping to develop it further.